Mesa pilots unhappy with management
Mesa Air Group's pilots, claiming their company is putting growth ahead of its operational problems, have voted overwhelmingly to express their lack of confidence in the airline's management.
In a tersely worded statement, the Mesa unit of the Air Line Pilots Association said that Phoenix-based Mesa has shrugged off aircraft problems, crew shortages, dirty cabins, and delayed and canceled flights as "the price of rapid growth."
Ninety percent of 900 pilots voting called on management to seriously consider the views of the pilot group and to address the company's operational performance immediately. Mesa, which started the new interisland carrier go! earlier this year, has 1,840 pilots, with about 1,300 of them full-fledged union members and eligible to vote.
"Mesa management has focused exclusively on growth these past few years, and has ignored our operational problems, which are taking a huge toll on Mesa pilots' quality of life and damaging this company's reputation," said Capt. James Ackerman, chairman of Mesa's ALPA unit. "Frankly, our pilots will not tolerate it anymore and neither will our existing code-share partners, potential code-share partners and customers."
ALPA said that Mesa added as many as 10 new aircraft a month in 2004 and 2005, and that while the company's growth has slowed dramatically this year, the operational problems persist "and, in fact, have worsened," Ackerman said.
"Our pilots are genuinely concerned about the future of our company," he added.
Jonathan Ornstein, chairman and chief executive of Mesa, questioned the charges in the press statement.
"I obviously disagree with what they did, and so does their (master executive council) chairman (Ackerman)," Ornstein said. "He told me he doesn't agree with what they did."
Ackerman said he was standing behind the pilots' action.
"Whether I agree with it or not, we're a democratic union and the (master executive council) vote was 8-0 to poll the pilots for a vote of lack of confidence and to release the results to the media," said Ackerman, who only votes to break a tie.
Ackerman said the pilots hope the letter will prompt the company to address the operational issues and fix the problems "so we can have a decent quality of life."
"We've talked to management repeatedly about this and brought it to management's attention repeatedly and have not seen significant improvements," Ackerman said.
Mesa has 187 aircraft that perform more than 1,200 daily departures in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, the Bahamas and Mexico.